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ted in our later offices; and therefore it may seem to be permitted to the discretion of the bishops, but yet not to be used unless where it may be for edification, and where it may be by the consent of the church, at least by interpretation; concerning which I have nothing else to interpose, but that neither this, nor any thing else which is not of the nature and institution of the rite, ought to be done by private authority, nor ever at all but according to the Apostle's rule, εὐσχημόνως καὶ κατὰ τάξιν, ‘whatsoever is decent, and whatsoever is according to order,' that is to be done, and nothing else for prayer and imposition of hands for the invocating and giving the Holy Spirit, are all that are in the foundation and institution.


Many great Graces and Blessings are consequent to the worthy Reception and due Ministry of Confirmation.

It is of itself enough, when it is fully understood, what is said in the Acts of the Apostles at the first ministration of this rite; "they received the Holy Ghost;" that is, according to the expression of our blessed Saviour himself to the apostles, when he commanded them in Jerusalem to expect the verification of his glorious promise, "they were endued with virtue from on high;" that is, with strength to perform their duty which although it is not to be understood exclusively to the other rites and ministries of the church of divine appointment, yet it is properly and most signally true, and as it were in some sense appropriate to this. For, as Aquinas well discourses, the grace of Christ is not tied to the sacraments; but even this spiritual strength and virtue from on high can be had without confirmation as without baptism remission of sins may be had; and yet we believe one baptism for the remission of sins; and one confirmation for the obtaining this virtue from on high, this strength of the Spirit. But it is so appropriate to it by promise and peculiarity of ministration, that as, without the desire of baptism, our sins are not pardoned, so without at least the desire of Part. 3. qu. 72. art. 6. ad prim.


confirmation, we cannot receive this virtue from on high, which is appointed to descend in the ministry of the Spirit. It is true, the ministry of the holy eucharist is greatly ef fective to this purpose; and therefore in the ages of martyrs the bishops were careful to give the people the holy communion frequently. "Ut quos tutos esse contra adversarium volebant, munimento Dominicæ saturitatis armarent," as St. Cypriand with his colleagues wrote to Cornelius; "that those whom they would have to be safe against the contentions of their adversaries, they should arm them with the guards and defences of the Lord's fulness." But it is to be remembered that the Lord's supper is for the more perfect Christians, and it is for the increase of the graces received formerly, and therefore it is for remission of sins, and yet is no prejudice to the necessity of baptism, whose proper work is remission of sins; and therefore neither does it make confirmation unnecessary for it renews the work of both the precedent rites, and repairs the breaches, and adds new energy, and proceeds in the same dispensations, and is renewed often, whereas the others are but once.


Excellent therefore are the words of John Gerson, the famous chancellor of Paris, to this purpose: "It may be said that in one way of speaking confirmation is necessary, and in another it is not. Confirmation is not necessary as baptism and repentance, for without these salvation cannot be had. This necessity is absolute; but there is a conditional necessity. Thus if a man would not become weak, it is necessary that he eat his meat well. And so confirmation is necessary, that the spiritual life and the health, gotten in baptism, may be preserved in strength against our spiritual enemies. For this is given for strength. Hence is that saying of Hugo de St. Victore; What does it profit that thou art raised up by baptism, if thou art not able to stand by confirmation? Not that baptism is not of value unto salvation without confirmation; but because he who is not confirmed, will easily fall, and too readily perish." The Spirit of God comes which way he pleases, but we are tied to use his own economy, and expect the blessings appointed by his own ministries: and because to prayer is promised we shall receive whatever we ask, we may as well omit the receiving the holy Epist. 54. In Opuse. Aur. de Confirmat.

eucharist, pretending that prayer alone will procure the blessings expected in the other, as well, I say, as omit confirmation, because we hope to be strengthened and receive virtue from on high by the use of the supper of the Lord. Let us use all the ministries of grace in their season; for "we know not which shall prosper, this or that, or whether they shall be both alike good:" this only we know, that the ministries which God appoints, are the proper seasons and opportunities of grace.

This power from on high, which is the proper blessing of confirmation, was expressed, not only in speaking with tongues and doing miracles,-for much of this they had before they received the Holy Ghost,-but it was effected in spiritual and internal strengths; they were not only enabled for the service of the church, but were endued with courage, and wisdom, and Christian fortitude, and boldness, to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and unity of heart and mind, singleness of heart, and joy in God; when it was for the edification of the church, miracles were done in confirmations; and St. Bernard, in the life of St. Malachias, tells that St. Malchus, bishop of Lismore in Ireland, confirmed a lunatic child, and at the same time cured him but such things as these are extra-regular and contingent. This which we speak of, is a regular ministry, and must have a regular effect.


St. Austin said that the Holy Spirit in confirmation was given "ad dilatanda ecclesiæ primordia," " for the propagating Christianity in the beginnings of the church."-St. Jerome says, it was "propter honorem sacerdotii," "for the honour of the priesthood."-Ambrose says, it was "ad confirmationem unitatis in ecclesia Christi;"" for the confirmation of unity in the church of Christ."-And they all say true: but the first was by the miraculous consignations, which did accompany this ministry; and the other two were by reason that the mysteries were τὰ προτελεσθέντα ὑπὸ τοῦ ἐπισκόπου, they were appropriated to the ministry of the bishop, who is 'caput unitatis,'' the head,' the last resort, the firmament' of unity' in the church. These effects were regular indeed, but they were incident and accidental: there are effects yet more proper, and of greater excellency.

Now if we will understand in general what excellent fruits are consequent to this dispensation, we may best re

ceive the notice of them from the fountain itself, our blessed Saviour. "He that believes, out of his belly (as the Scripture saith f) shall flow rivers of living waters. But this he spake of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive."-This is evidently spoken of the Spirit, which came down in Pentecost, which was promised to all that should believe in Christ, and which the apostles ministered by imposition of hands, the Holy Ghost himself being the expositor; and it can signify no less, but that a spring of life should be put into the heart of the confirmed, to water the plants of God; that they should become trees,' not only 'planted by the water-side' (for so it was in David's time, and in all the ministry of the Old Testament); but having a river of living water' within them to make them fruitful of good works,' and bringing their fruit in due season, fruits worthy of amendment of life.'

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1. But the principal thing is this: confirmation is the consummation and perfection, the corroboration and strength, of baptism and baptismal grace; for in baptism we undertake to do our duty, but in confirmation we receive strength to do it; in baptism others promise for us, in confirmation we undertake for ourselves, we ease our godfathers and godmothers of their burden, and take it upon our own shoulders, together with the advantage of the prayers of the bishop and all the church made then on our behalf; in baptism we give up our names to Christ, but in confirmation we put our seal to the profession, and God puts his seal to the promise. It is very remarkable what St. Paul says of the beginnings of our being Christians, ὁ τῆς ἀρχῆς τοῦ Χριστοῦ Aóyos, "the word of the beginning of Christ :" Christ begins with us, he gives us his word, and admits us, and we by others, hands are broughtin, τύπος διδαχῆς εἰς ὃν παρεδόθητε, it is the "form of doctrine, unto which ye were delivered." Cajetan observes right, that this is a new and emphatical way of speaking we are wholly immerged in our fundamentals; other things are delivered to us, but we are delivered up unto these. This is done in baptism and catechism; and what was the event of it?" Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." Your baptism was for the remission of sins there, and then John, vii. 38.

ye were made

3 Rom. vi. 17.

h Ver. 18.

free from that bondage: and what then? why then in the next place, when ye came to consummate this procedure, when the baptized was confirmed, then he became a servant of righteousness, that is, then the Holy Ghost descended upon you, enabled you to walk in the Spirit; then the seed of God was thrown into your hearts by a celestial influence. "Spiritus Sanctus in baptisterio plenitudinem tribuit ad innocentiam, sed in confirmatione augmentum præstat ad gratiam," said Eusebius Emissenus: "In baptism we are made innocent, in confirmation we receive the increase of the Spirit of grace;" in that we are regenerated unto life, in this we are strengthened unto battle. "Dono sapientiæ illuminamur, ædificamur, erudimur, instruimur, confirmamur, ut illam Sancti Spiritûs vocem audire possimus, Intellectum tibi dabo, et instruam te in hac vitâ quâ gradieris," said P. Melchiades *; "We are enlightened by the gift of wisdom, we are built up, taught, instructed, and confirmed; so that we may hear that voice of the Holy Spirit, I will give unto thee an understanding heart, and teach thee in the way wherein thou shalt walk:" for so,

Signari populos effuso pignore sancto,
Mirandæ virtutis opus —1;

"It is a work of great and wonderful power, when the holy pledge of God is poured forth upon the people."-This is that power from on high, which first descended in Pentecost and afterward was ministered by prayer and imposition of the apostolical and episcopal hands, and comes after the other gift of remission of sins. "Vides quòd non simpliciter hoc fit, sed multâ opus est virtute, ut detur Spiritus Sanctus. Non enim idem est assequi remissionem peccatorum, et accipere virtutem illam," said St. Chrysostom ": " You see that this is not easily done, but there is need of much power from on high to give the Holy Spirit; for it is not all one to obtain remission of sins, and to have received this virtue or power from above."-"Quamvis enim continuò transituris sufficiant regenerationis beneficia, victuris tamen necessaria sunt confirmationis auxilia," said Melchiades: "Although to them that die presently, the benefits of regeneration (baptismal)


i Serm. de Pentecoste.

Habetur apud Gratian. de Consecrat. dist. 5. c. Spiritus S.
Tertul, advers. Marcion. lib. 1. Car. c. 3.

Homil. 18. in Acta.

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